The communications services companies of the two Ambani brothers on Monday announced agreements for trading and sharing of scarce airwaves, or radio frequency spectrum, in the 800MHz band, covering virtually the entire country. A roaming agreement is also on cards.
The pact for trading involves a change in spectrum allotment from the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications to Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio over nine circles and that for sharing between the two companies covers 17 circles, the two entities said.
“The spectrum arrangements between Reliance Jio Infocom and Reliance Communications will result in network synergies, enhanced network capacity and will optimise spectrum utilisation and capex (capital expenditure) efficiencies,” the companies said in separate statements.
“Both operators anticipate considerable savings in operating costs and future investment in networks… Customers of RCom will benefit from access to RJIL’s world class LTE network under the reciprocal sharing and ICR agreements… The arrangements are subject to liberalisation of RCom spectrum in the 800 MHz band and obtaining requisite approvals.”
“These agreements further strengthen the comprehensive framework of business co-operation between RJIL and RCom group, following the nationwide long term IRU agreements for inter and intra city optical fibre networks, and for sharing of telecom tower infrastructure.”
As of now, Reliance Jio is only available for 1 lakh Reliance employees across India. Before this, it was only accessible in the Navi Mumbai office of Reliance, and now will over the next few months be put through a kind of beta test to see how effective the coverage is. While there is no confirmed date for the commercial launch, it is expected to take place in late March or April 2016.
In order to facilitate communication in rain-devastated Chennai, Airtel has today announced that it is offering free talk time, Airtel-to-Airtel calling minutes and mobile data for prepaid users. Airtel postpaid and landline users are getting an extended time limit to pay due bills.
The company is offering users auto approval of Talk Time credit upto Rs 30 and free credit of 10 minutes for Airtel-to-Airtel calling with a validity of two days for its prepaid subscribers. Besides that, the company is giving prepaid users 50MB of free mobile data with a validity of two days. For postpaid and fixed line subscribers, whose bills are due to be paid immediately, the brand has extended the time limit to make the payment, so they can experience uninterrupted services.
Due to the constant rains and excessive water logging there are power failures in Chennai, impacting mobile communication services in some areas. The company said that it is working with local authorities to provide smooth mobile communication for its subscribers across the city.
Multiple telecom operators have come forward in a bid to facilitate communication services in the flood-ravaged Chennai. Soon after Airtelannounced its free talk time and mobile data offers for the users in Chennai, other telecom operators including BSNL, Aircel, Vodafone and Rcom have also come forward with their offers. It’s worth pointing out that most of Chennai is still struggling with power failures, so mobile networks are still patchy.
BSNL is offering local + STD calls free from BSNL landline to any network, free mobile prepaid calls and SMS (BSNL to BSNL), 100MB of free data and rent rebate for BSNL postpaid customers for seven days. In addition, billing cycle for postpaid mobile users has also been extended by 15 days.
Aircel is offering free 10 Aircel to Aircel calls for three days, auto credit of Rs 30, 10 free SMS across India for three days, and 100MB of 2GB or 3G data free for three days. Vodafone is offering a pre-approved ‘chhota credit’ of Rs 10 to all prepaid subscribers, 10 minutes of free Vodafone to Vodafone calling for two days, 100MB of mobile data for two days, and extended billing cycle for postpaid mobile users. Rcom on the other hand is offering 50MB free data for prepaid users and loan facility to recharge balance up to Rs 10.
In addition to the aforementioned telecom service providers, other end-user service providers like Paytm and Skype are also offering free offers for users in Chennai. Paytm is offering a free Rs 30 recharge, which can be activated by dialing 1800-1030-033. Skype on the other hand is offering international calls to landlines and mobiles in Tamil Nadu free of charge for the next few days.
Vodafone has kicked off its 4G network in India starting with Kochi, Kerala. The brand’s 4G services utilise the country’s FDD-LTE band 3, for which it acquired a spectrum licence last year. The company already offers 3G services in Kerala on the 2100MHz band. Now it has become the first telecom operator in Kerala to offer 2G, 3G and 4G services on its own networks.
Vodafone is offering a free unlimited movie subscription for its 4G users, which includes 7,500 movie titles, including 200+ Malayalam movies for three months, and free unlimited music streaming on Vodafone Music. The company is offering a free 4G upgrade with a SIM, with a trial pack of 120MB priced at Rs 29 and a bonanza pack of 20GB that is being offered for Rs 2,499.
Vodafone 4G subscribers in Kochi are getting 100 percent extra data for three months, 4G packs starting at Rs 29 for 120MB of data, instant SIM swap at all Vodafone stores, and same day door-step delivery of postpaid 4G SIMs. The brand also announced that it has plans for 4G rollout in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata in the coming months.